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19th December 2014

It’s not my phone; it’s my ECG monitor, my eye test, my BGM

A few years ago, checking up on your vitals meant paying the doctor a visit. Your heart rate, respiration, and blood pressure were mostly measured at an annual checkup. Now… now it’s different. All this data is now at our fingertips, literally.

It’s already pretty clear that we use our smartphones to track our health, log on what we eat how many steps we’ve taken, how we sleep. But perhaps the next step is going beyond and transforming phones into medical devices themselves.

Apps aside, a phone can now perform eye tests, tell if you’ve got Parkinson’s, or become a microscope. The technology is out there.

“We’re starting to see some initial forays into using smartphones and their cases to measure medical conditions that previously required specialized equipment,” Joanne Rohde, CEO of Axial exchange told Mashable.

She foresees smartphones being transformed into ECG devices, blood testing equipment and more.

Heart monitoring on-the-go

One of the companies working on that is AliveCor. They’ve developed a case that can fit on the back of an iPhone able to monitor your heart rate and the electrical activity of your heart. All you need is to rest your fingers on the phone screen for half a minute and your results show up on the phone instantaneously.

Another device stepping into the same area is Azoi’s Wello. According to their video all you do is hold the case for a few seconds at the given sensors and you get a snapshot of your health: blood pressure, respiration and heart rate, and temperature. You can also add an attachable sensor to monitor your lung performance.

What about my blood sugar?

With over 380 million people living with diabetes today (expected to grow up to 590 million in the next 20 years), blood glucose monitors are one of the most widely used medical devices in the world. It comes evidently that many companies are trying to make better, faster, smaller, smarter monitors.

iBGStar was the first to develop a glucose measuring strip that can fit right into your phone. As with any glucometer you just take your sample, insert the strip into the device (that connects to your phone) and the results show up immediately on your phone screen. Logging, tracking, analysing are of course part of the package.

Another company, Dario developed a tiny pocket-sized “Smart meter” that connects to phones and displays results within seconds.

A phone that can tell you if your blood sugar is low will not necessarily revolutionize healthcare. Taking health in our own hands, seeing the effects of our lifestyle immediately, having information about our bodies, making remote diagnosis possible. These could.

You are free to share this article under the Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported license.

Header Photo credit: Fotolia

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